News About the North Bay Water Reuse Authority

Project to bring recycled water to water-scarce region breaks ground

August 14, 2014

Contact: David Rabbitt, NBWRA Chair
Sonoma County Supervisor

Keith Caldwell, NBWRA Director
Napa County Supervisor
(707) 319-7374

Project to bring recycled water to water-scarce region breaks ground

Project to bring recycled water to water-scarce region breaks ground

Napa Sanitation District and Napa County mark beginning of long-awaited project

(NAPA, CA) — Water officials in Napa celebrated the start of a long-awaited recycled water project this week with a symbolic groundbreaking event that took place Aug. 12 at the Napa Valley Country Club to signal the beginning of the Milliken-Sarco-Tulocay (MST) pipeline project.

The five-mile pipeline will deliver recycled water to the water-scarce Coombsville/MST region east of the city of Napa, bringing much-needed water to vineyards, landscaping and the Napa Valley Country Club. The MST project is joint effort by the Napa Sanitation District (NSD) and the County of Napa and is part of the North Bay Water Reuse Program (NBWRP), a regional water supply program that serves the three North Bay counties of Napa, Sonoma and Marin.

“All the elements came together to bring this project to where it is today,” said Napa County Supervisor Keith Caldwell, a past chair and member of the NBWRA, the program’s governing board. “This would have not have happened without the support of the federal government and the property owners in the Coombsville area. This is another success story for solving our water supply problems with a regional solution.”

Federal participation has been a key factor in the Milliken-Sarco-Tulocay (MST) pipeline project. The Bureau of Reclamation has provided funding through its Title VXI WaterSmart Grant program. The 25% federal cost share provided the incentive for many property owners to participate, said Caldwell. He added that the MST/Coombsville area “suffers from severe overdraft and we have no idea what this drought is going to do that … but everyone would agree that it can’t be good. It’s not going to help it recover.”

The MST pipeline will have the capacity to deliver up to 2,000 acre feet per year of highly treated wastewater, water that would otherwise be discharged and not reused. “This project provides multiple benefits for the county and the district,” said Phillip Miller, Deputy Director of Public Works for Napa County. “It will help relieve a groundwater shortage and provide a beneficial use of a valuable resource. It took the efforts of many parties, including the property owners, the Board of Supervisors, Napa Sanitation District and the NBWRA. We’re gratified for the support.” Construction is expected to start within the next two months.

Michelle Denning, Regional Planning Officer for the Bureau of Reclamation’s Mid-Pacific Region, applauded the project and said the NBWRP is an example of a productive partnership between the federal government and local water agencies.

“It took a team to make this happen,” Napa City Councilmember Jill Techel, a member of the NSD Board and the NBWRA Board. “Napa Sanitation, local residents, the County of Napa and North Bay Water Reuse Authority all worked together to put the package together.

The NBWRP is a coordinated, regional effort to offset potable water demand by promoting water reuse for agriculture, urban use and environmental protection. It is comprised of 10 public utilities in Marin, Sonoma and Napa counties. Its members currently include: Las Gallinas Valley Sanitary District, Napa Sanitation District, Novato Sanitary District, Sonoma County Water Agency, Sonoma Valley County Sanitation District, North Marin Water District, Napa County, City of Petaluma, Marin Municipal Water District and Marin County.

“The success of the MST pipeline is evidence that when jurisdictions work in cooperation, great things can result,” said Sonoma County Supervisor David Rabbitt, chair of the NBWRA. “The hard work of the Napa Sanitation District, Napa County, and the property owners who were willing to support this project, will provide a solution to their long-term water problems. This is another example of the potential of recycled water to provide a regional water supply, particularly in the water-scarce regions of the North Bay.”

Phase 1 of the NBWRP is currently under construction with six recycled water distribution projects, which when complete will provide 3,757 AFY for irrigation in the North San Pablo Bay region. In addition to irrigation uses, the Napa-Sonoma Salt Marsh project will receive up to 1,700 AFY for habitat restoration. (An acre-foot of water is 325,851 gallons.)

For more information about the North Bay Water Reuse Authority, visit the website at E-mail:, or call (707) 235-8965.